THE past few months have been a time of massive upheaval for installers across the UK following the coronavirus lockdown – with contractors having to adapt to new ways of working in an extremely short space of time.
On Sunday, 10 May, Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a ‘conditional plan’ to reopen parts of society – highlighting construction and manufacturing as an example of an industry where returning to work would now be explicitly encouraged.
With this in mind, Adrian Buttress, managing director at Permaroof, the UK’s leading importer and distributor of Firestone RubberCover, shares his top tips on how traders can continue to work effectively and safely with both suppliers and customers.
He said: “Many roofing installers have continued to work throughout the pandemic and now, the rest of the industry is being encouraged to return to their jobs. We recommend contractors strictly implement the government’s social distancing requirements and avoid public transport to minimise the risk of spreading the virus and keep the public – as well as themselves – safe.”
- Be organised when collecting materials
“Despite lots of workers now being encouraged to go back into their workplace, this doesn’t mean everything will go back to as it was pre-pandemic straight away.
“At the moment, you’re probably not going to be able to go to a trade counter and decide what you need while there. You will need to know exactly what you want beforehand and pre-order the stock so the guidelines in place can be strictly adhered to. It’s also important to stay on top of stock checks so you know exactly what you have already to avoid placing unnecessary orders.”
- Expect delays
“Most businesses are running on skeleton staff who will be working different shifts and will have changed their ways of working to continue trading, meaning processes may be slower. When ordering from the merchant counter, it’s likely your order may take longer to fulfil than normal. To avoid this impacting on your business, forward plan and place orders before stocks become critically low.”
- Organising quotations
“When carrying out quotations, it’s important to communicate with customers clearly. Tell them to stay inside while you get up the ladder and take the measurements. The quotation can then be sent over email – offering a completely contactless service.”
- Offering a contactless service
“Once you’ve got the materials and secured the job, work to pre-arrange any electricity extensions to be put outside the building so you don’t have to go inside the home. Also, it’s worth thinking about toilet facilities and how you’re going to access these safely while staying away from the customer.
“Sadly, tea and coffee should be off the cards too and make sure you’re sanitising as you go along. Not only is all of the above good practice in terms of health and safety, it’s all good for the customer to see that you care about their wellbeing.
“When it comes to roofs, things can go wrong and urgent maintenance and repairs sometimes need to be carried out without further delay to avoid problems down the line. However, it’s vital that these take place safely to avoid the further spread of the virus.”